Buuuut, I do remember watching a sports event many years ago that I really enjoyed. It was an Olympic competition in women's volleyball. One team was the Soviet Union (Yeah, it was that long ago). They were astonishingly tall, amazonian, women. Any one of them could have been a model. They had legs that were up to my ear. The embodiment of statuesque. Greek goddesses, every one. On the other side was the South Korean team. It seemed the Korean women were the polar opposites of the Soviets. Snarly, short, squat, and fiercely determined. They could have bit me in thigh without bending over. I fell in love again (Forgive the hyperbole, but everything seems magnified by the kaleidoscope of time and memory.) This match would seem to have all the signs of an imminent slaughter. It wasn't. For every towering spike smashed by the Soviet team there was a headlong dive by one of the Koreans, who defiantly, and deftly, dug out the ball and saved it from the floor. It looked like David might actually have a chance against Goliath. The Koreans were everywhere! They had ten hands each! They dove! They sacrificed! They would NOT let the ball hit the floor! The Soviet Amazons redoubled their efforts, jumping higher, smashing harder and harder, trying desperately to break the resolve of the Korean team. The contest was brutal but the Soviet Union team won. Someone had to win. But, there were no losers here.
The whole contest reminds me of Darwin. What? Where did that come from? Charles Darwin in his youth took a long voyage of discovery on the HMS Beagle. His experiences on this trip, particularly when visiting the Galapagos Islands, formed the basis for his development of the theory of evolution by natural selection. What does this have to do with women's volleyball? Everything. Darwin took several samples of what came to be known as Darwin's Finches. The Galapagos Islands are composed of several islands and atolls. Darwin collected many specimens on this voyage, including 14 different species of finches, 12 of which proved to be new to science. When Darwin returned to England, with the help of the ornithologist John Gould, who was sort of the John Audubon of Europe, it was noted that there were obvious differences in beak shape from island to island corresponding with what food the different species ate. Below is a chart illustrating this.
What does this have to do with women's volleyball? Everything. Although, it would be incorrect to say that the South Korean and Soviet women are different species, it does demonstrate how variant forms can lead to success (although it's a bit of a stretch to compare volleyball success with reproductive success.). So, when did this contest of volleyball stars happen? Well, after a little searching, I discovered that it took place in 1976, and actually, The South Korean ended with a bronze medal and the Soviet team earned a silver medal, losing to the Japanese team who took the gold. That escaped my memory.
So, in summary, I have found a new way to enjoy sports, I'll just try to think about it as a metaphor for evolution. Well, that and the fact that the women were absolutely stunning. Hmm, maybe this could lead to reproductive success--and maybe I'm not such an abnormal guy after all.